Stressmas: The Price Britons Pay for a ‘Perfect’ Festive Season

Your local town centre has put up the Christmas lights, Costa and Starbucks have changed their disposable cups to winter versions and you’ve probably already scoffed a few mince pies.

For some, Christmas is the time of eating, drinking and being merry. However, for many, the holidays can also be very trying.

Newly released statistics suggest that the average Briton will work 75 hours overtime over November and December, in an attempt to afford their Christmas spendings.

The study, undertaken by the team behind website, revealed that 54% of Britons rely on working overtime to cover their holiday expenses. The study was conducted on over two thousand British adults in full-time employment.

The festive period is stressful enough, without having to work an extra full 10 days over the season. The average extra income Britons receive due to their festive overtime is £550 over this period. In addition, 69% of those who said they worked overtime described this as either taking on another job or finding cash in hand work.

The study found that mums are the most likely in the family unit to be stressing over Christmas finances. Not only do mums usually work overtime to be able to afford Christmas, but they are also having to balance the household with more visitors and events to host, as well as childcare. With school closures over the festive period, having to entertain the kids is an additional chore, on top of having to fulfil all their Christmas duties.

It’s not just Christmas which causes stress; the winter period in general can have an effect on our moods. For those living in the more northern parts of the hemisphere, suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to a shortage of sunlight throughout the winter periods is commonplace. This could also add to the tension felt as this time of the year as it’s harder to keep jolly spirits up when you’re not receiving enough vitamin D.

So how can you dissipate some of this tension? Anders Nilsson, the spokesperson from, said:

“[The festive period] doesn’t have to break the bank; you can split the cost of Christmas over the year, saving little and often”.

However not all of us plan ahead in that way; he also suggested selling items that were no longer used, or perhaps never had been. This would not only provide extra income, but also declutter the house, ready for any new Christmas presents.

As well as this you can bring Christmas back to what it’s meant to be: spending time with family.

You don’t need to have all the latest presents, you can do a simple secret Santa among your family to make Christmas more cost effective. You can ask family and friends to bring round dishes, so it takes the pressure of cooking on the actual day.

Focus on spending time, not money, on those who matter most!

It doesn’t have to be about lavishness and excess, if achieving that brings so much worry and stress. Christmas is a time of joy, so take some of the pressure off by putting the focus on spending time, not money, on those who matter most!

Beatriz Casarrubios Lopez

Image: [New York Post]